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80 DAYS announce AI research partnership with The University of Edinburgh

80 DAYS, the full-service creative and digital marketing agency that specialises in hospitality, is delighted to announce an Artificial Intelligence Research Partnership with Edinburgh University to help further develop the use of responsible and trustworthy AI, in the field of Natural Language Processing (NLP), within the hospitality and travel industry.

Following the UK’s recent announcement of significant further investment into AI supercomputing, with £300m being allocated to support research into making advanced Artificial Intelligence models safe, it’s clear that AI’s pace of development shows no signs of slowing.

Continuing this theme, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced an investment in 12 new CDTs (Centre for Doctoral Training) in AI at the beginning of November, 3 of which will be led, or co-led by the School of Informatics at Edinburgh University. The UKRI AI Centre for Doctoral Training in Responsible and Trustworthy in-the-world NLP (Natural Language Processing) will be led by the School of Informatics in collaboration with Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh Law School, and the Schools of Mathematics and Psychology, Philosophy and Language Sciences, and will be hosted by the new Edinburgh Futures Institute.

“NLP underpins many leading-edge AI applications such as personal assistants (such as Siri, and Alexa), chatbots (such as ChatGPT) and generative AI applications that use text prompts to generate other media (such as Midjourney, DALL-E).

These technologies enable new ways of working and accessing services and knowledge but are accompanied by risks.

Understanding how complex AI systems that utilise natural language, such as large language models (LLMs), operate in the world is critical to ensuring a responsible, sustainable, and socially sensitive design that steers clear of common LLM issues such as bias. To achieve this, systems of the future must be built by multidisciplinary, and diverse teams who understand the complexities of responsibly developing, deploying, and overseeing these systems in real-world settings.”

Source: Edinburgh University

The new CDT will house over 50 PhD students, working on the technical and societal role of AI and NLP technologies, with a vision of producing doctoral graduates who are adept in areas such as responsible data handling, explainable AI and human-AI partnership design.

Part of this research will focus on AI’s use within the hospitality and travel sector, supported by 80 DAYS and a range of other partners, and represents a fantastic opportunity to help collectively drive our industry forward.

Members of the 80 DAYS team will be working closely with Edinburgh University PhD students for the next 3-4 years, providing mentoring, setting challenges, projects, and real-world scenarios as well as sharing data, with due consideration to data protection and privacy regulations.

Managing Partner of 80 DAYS, Chris McGuire, stressed the significance of the partnership to the agency; “We’re actively trying to help shape the future of travel marketing, so it was a very easy decision for us to collaborate with the pioneering AI research being undertaken by the Centre for Doctoral Training at Edinburgh University. We look forward to exploring the exciting possibilities that this partnership can bring for both our clients and the agency itself”.

Joshua Ryan-Saha, Director of Tourism-Tech at Edinburgh Futures Institute (part of Edinburgh University) added:

“This is a fantastic step forward. Knowledge sharing like this, between industry and academia, only serves to better our understanding of how AI can help improve customer experiences within the hospitality and travel sector. The initial focus is on recruiting the first tranche of PhD students and we’re excited to get started!”

ABOUT 80 DAYS

80 DAYS is an award-winning, full service creative and digital marketing agency that specialises in hospitality, working with some of the world’s most respected hotel and travel brands.

Established in 2002 and with offices in Edinburgh, London, Málaga and Dubai, we are fuelled by experience, insight and a genuine desire to shape the future of travel marketing.

ABOUT EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY

Founded in 1562, Edinburgh University is the sixth-oldest university in continuous operation in the English-speaking world.

According to CSRankings, Edinburgh University ranks 1st in the UK for computer science and is the best in the world for Natural Language Processing (NLP). Their achievements include the award-winning neural machine translation system Nematus and the high-performance language modeling toolkit KenLM.

80 DAYS
80 DAYShttps://www.eighty-days.com/
80 DAYS is an award-winning, full service creative and digital marketing agency that specialises in hospitality, working with some of the world's most respected hotel and travel brands.

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